22 October 2017


Last week's soup:

I foolishly chose to order spices from a vendor that's on vacation (I was informed before checkout), so out of my many, many soup recipes saved on instapaper, this was the only one I could make with the spices on hand. But now I'm fully stocked up and can work my way through these:

21 October 2017

Human Scale

Hopefully Alphabet can shove some innovation into construction / urban planning *fingers crossed*

The most existing PDF I've read this year


This documentary explains the motivation for designing cities for the people:

20 October 2017


I was really hyped about the trice charcoal roasted dongding that I got from Floating Leaf, bringing it all the way to Bath with me...and that's where the problem occurs. Bath has very hard water, which also causes a tremendous amount of hair loss although I'm not complaining, but the point relevant to tea is that it makes tea taste different. I only brought two tea that I've regularly consumed in Canada, and have not liked how their taste changed with the water here. So currently I'm not liking the taste of the dongding that much (pretty standard, meh), but it's probably not the tea's fault.

The hard water also amplifies the tea stains "orz

I ought to head to my local tea shop and ask how they deal with this water, and maybe try some darjeeling (opps not suppose to be buying more tea).

18 October 2017

wondering where you are

Good thing I have a nice backlog of music to post since lectures for the next course starts next week.

Looking forward to Noel Gallagher and Epik High's new albums also coming out next month / week.

16 October 2017


I'm still lacking diligence to be a good landscape photographer...and lacking trust in the weather forecast. It went from overcast when I woke up to decent clouds when I was leaving back to overcast when I arrived at Alexandria Park. Oh wells, this is a different but nice mood and provides good motivation for me to return regularly (itching for a telephoto lens tho).

15 October 2017

Wardrobe Inventory: uk edition

I think the lack of extreme cold or hot weather in the UK means this is as small as my wardrobe will ever be. The inventory currently stands at:

  • Outerwear: 6
  • Knitwear: 7
  • Pants: 4
  • Shirts and blouses: 9
  • Tees: 3
  • Dresses: 3
  • Skirts: 4
  • Scarves: 7
  • Shoes: 3
  • Boots: 3
  • Bags: 3
which is 36 pieces of clothing and 16 pieces of accessories. Imagine someone else in my situation would have less outerwear and scarves haha. 

14 October 2017

Filippa K

I've been pretty good at finding brands that I like on this side of the Atlantic. Today features Filippa K, which I vaguely remember reading about on /r/ffa. It's also a brand that values sustainability and transparency (seems hard to find a brand that doesn't say so), but this claim feels a lot more substantial with supplier info for every item, good start to a garment care guide, recycling and leasing initiatives and annual sustainability reports.

It is quite pricy so not sure if I'll actually buy these two shinies:

I also discovered John Smedley on ffa today and would theoretically like the brand if not for the way clothing is modelled (or lack of) on their website.


Trying to be good and write more of my report instead of pouring over this blog (tagline is: I save 50% of my income and buy $400 shoes). Already adopting her shopping practices.

13 October 2017


Food of last week:

 pasta e ceci via Smitten Kitchen

sweet potato and lentil curry via BBC


I walked to a new grocery store today and the walk is even more scenic. The walking path is mostly a footpath through a residential district, so its lined with shrubs with flowers and berries. The store is located uphill, so on top of being a good workout, I get to see a good panorama of Bath. Too bad the store itself is quite small so still have to go to Sainsbury.

09 October 2017


Bath in b/w, one new photo and a bunch of old ones from here:

08 October 2017


Things I ate last week:

 the default miso soup

vegetable...crustless quiche? omelette? egg饼?

the default vegetable soup

...but this is the tastiest version of my vegetable soup so far. Good sweetness and texture. Cook the following in the listed order:
  • 1 bay leaf / couple black peppercorn
  • 3 thick slices of smoked back bacon, fat trimmed & rendered
  • 1 trimmed leek
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 8oz (by volume) dried white beans, soaked overnight
  • half a head of "greens" (no idea what kind of greens it is, reminds me of collard greens. a whole bunch is cheap at Sainsbury)

07 October 2017


W.S. Merwin
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Poetry is an item on the to-do list with indefinite deadlines.



06 October 2017

change my mind

Soundtrack of the week while working on the LT assignment. So much project management lessons learned, what a catastrophe it was.

02 October 2017


Sore throat, ugh :(

01 October 2017


I'm being a good little student and started on the (available for free) optional readings for my first course: Building Design for Low Carbon. The book Sustainable Energy with the Hot Air starts off, as with most books and lectures on this topic, justifying the reality of climate change. As in the physical phenomenal is happening, that there are "factual assertions" that are true. I find it a little sad that this premise is still required. The book also takes extra care to separate the "factual assertions" from "ethical assertions" which deal with why/how/what actions we should take. I'm glad that I took ENV221 and 222 in forth year as these two courses give a solid foundation for the ethical (most useful reading imo) and political issues involved in taking action.


All the above text is really leading into the fact that I forgot to post a quotations from From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone:
People gain weight because they eat too many calories or are too inactive for the calories they eat. Genetics affects this balance, of course, because heredity predisposes some people to gain weight more easily than others, but genetic changes in a population occur too slowly to account for the sharp increase in weight gain over such a short time period.
My first thought after reading these lines is that it sounds so darn similar to evidence for asserting that anthropogenic climate change is real.

This book is also a good introduction to the subject of Food Ethics, and does a good job of explaining some basic ethics framework as well. Kevin and Eric's philosophy discussions make much more sense after reading the background chapters in this book.


Another book I've read this summer on the topic of food is Food Politics (I also follow the author's blog). This book is another good subject introduction to the numerous conflict of interests that exist in the food system.


Lastly, my personal reading goals for this year is to tackle most of Terry Pratchett's Discoworld series. Seems appropriate as I'm in the U.K. and I would like some fun reading to do before sleeping in hopes that I'll sleep better with some buffer between when I close my eyes and looking at a screen. I hope I'll enjoy his work as much as I've enjoyed Vonnegut's.

30 September 2017


I recently watched a video by a landscape photographer recommending to return to the same location multiple times. So get use to seeing this view:

I did exaggerate the colours a bit in post, but this is the bluest sky I've been in Bath. My favourite part of the photo is how the floating leaves near the bottom evokes the look of stars.

29 September 2017

my sleeping pill, my caffeine

Epic High and Nell are always great together:

28 September 2017


Joined a photowalk with UBath's photosoc, seems like it'll be a fun club to be part of:

I was pretty conflicted over the arrangement for the last photo, I prefer this arrangement better aesthetically (mass of leaves against blank sky) and thematically (the two subjects facing away from each other). But compositionally it makes sense to switch the two image around so the curve is leading into the middle instead of away. Oh wells, my photo, my preferences.

My mom came up with a great title for this: 动与静

27 September 2017


Another short walk, this time in a slight drizzle:

 Avon river


Green park

I agree that Bath's beauty is in its combination of architecture and landscape.


Some red tea for the raining weather. It sort of works out that I found a tea shop a couple days ago to buy a gaiwan locally, whereas I broke my glass bottle today so no more bringing tea to school :(

The window ledge is the only place within my room with enough light for reasonable aperture / shutter / iso when it's cloudy out. It still took flash to more adequately light the tea leaves to show off its golden pieces.

26 September 2017


Yesterday was a cool, crisp, and grey day in Bath. I'm surprised that I find a day like this quite pleasant, it's the perfect weather for layering clothing and not having to worry about overblowing the sky in every photo. (But to be honest, the sky was overblown in all my photos because I believed the histogram over the live view. I feel so betrayed ._. )

Went on my first stroll around Bath up to the Royal Crescent and down to buy some Chinese groceries. While the streets in the city centre are very picturesque lined with bath stone houses, there's quite a lot of cars zooming around to get a tranquil atmospheric photo. So look the food I ate instead:

I was originally debating between here or Society Cafe, but decided on here after reading extensive blog posts by the owner. The barista there was helpful (and handsome) in choosing me one of their beans. This one is supposedly fruity and a bit floral, I didn't really get those notes but did notice the lack of bitterness. It was harsh (kinda spiky) feeling in the throat, which is weird. Will probably go back in a month since they rotate their selection.

Lunch is at The Scallop Shell, with the most adorable receipt box:

The chips were alright, fish is very light and tender, however the real standouts are the mushy peas and white bread. Yes I'm surprised by this sentence too.

Bread: makes more sense that they're from the Bertinet Bakery, which from my initial research about bath is the best bakery in town. It's soft when you first bite into it but actually has good structure to make subsequent bites substantial.

Mushy peas: it was so good that I asked the chef for the recipe, hopefully I am allowed to publish it here.
  • Marrowfat peas and split peas 1:1
  • Soak with baking soda 24hr
  • Boil with water to cover 1" with bouillon
  • Finish with salt pepper butter
The secret is the inclusion of the split peas which breakdown and thicken the dish. Am excited to make this, hopefully it keeps well in the fridge so I can just make a big batch. 

25 September 2017


Another Scandi store: Arket (under H&M group). The concept is affordable high quality pieces to wear for a long time, which I can definitely get behind. Hopefully the concept is true and not just marketing speak, I'm optimistic as they're transparent about a number of their suppliers and commissioned an optimized (for their target market) merino yarn.

More knits to desire...and surprisingly a kitten heel pump that I like love. The color is also a huge reason why.

24 September 2017


There is an abundance of fruits (though unknown if the berries are edible) at my residence:

In other news, I'm slowly exploring the grocery store around Bath. So far I've yet to find gooseberry yogurt :(

21 September 2017


My going away present to myself: russian honey cake with a clover design obviously (this is the second closest I've gotten to H&C irl).

I thought the recipe was very intimidating...but was not too difficult actually. It is time consuming, took me about 3 hours of active time to make. The beginning and ending steps are much easier with an assistant. Some changes to the recipe / my own notes:

  • Don't let the caramel mixture cool too much before adding the eggs; the warmer the liquids, the easier it is incorporating the flour (aka less of an arm workout)
  • A 9" lid is the secret to shaping the biscuits into perfect circles. While the dough is still between the two sheets of parchment paper, press the lid lightly onto the stack to mark where you'll be cutting. Then peel off the top sheet and firmly press down on the lid to cut the dough. Having the light marking ensures that there won't be gaps around the edges since it's moderately difficult to roll the dough large enough. 
  • The biscuits baked unevenly for me, there were many large bubbles even after docking the dough. I then very, very aggressively docked the remaining dough, but it was not very effective in preventing the bubbles. 
  • I accidentally bought half the required sour cream and double the condensed milk ha ha... so I made the frosting in that ratio. It worked out well in terms of texture and softening, although tastes too sweet for me. 
  • How does one coat the sides in crumb? I grabbed a handful of crumbs and pressed them onto the sides, but this got really messy. 
Overall this is the favourite cake that I've made. 

16 September 2017


& brought to you by ADAM.GC PRO. I ought to declutter my font folder, I don't use like 95% of them.

Great article analyzing the font of A Lange watches. I tried in vain to find free versions of Engravers (normal version) and Versailles.

15 September 2017


Yesterday's dinner: miso rosemary beans and wholesome mahshi. If you ignore the salads on my cooking list for reasons of colder weather and lack of good cheese, I've almost completed my list! This progress is far superior than any new years resolution I've attempted.

 a giant sprig is photogenic but annoying to separate and actually eat

I really like the flavour of the stuffing mix, the seasoning is half cinnamon, ~quarter all spice and ~quarter black pepper, plus tomato paste. The cooked cilantro is surprisingly nice, I haven't considered adding herbs before cooking. I'm almost down to make my own tomato paste with backyard tomatoes if I had more time. This would also be good deconstructed.

14 September 2017

deer bone

I haven't posted something unrelated to food in a while...

Hope STHLM is my current obsession, thank you to a redditor who mentioned this brand on /r/ffa. It's like Acne but more wearable.

Items I'd buy if I had income...and am sure about sizing:

trench - back details and large collars
pants: slim / regular / loose - why are tapered pants so hard to find?
sweater - would prefer a narrow bottom rib tho
boots: ankle / chelsea - loving them more Acne Jensen and Everlane's chelsea respectively


Also been trying to find nice sweaters from UK / EU based shops, candidates so far include MaisonCashmere and Pure Collection.

13 September 2017


Another day of cooking and prepping to leave. It's quite bothersome that information about the arrival / orientation week process is scattered over multiple sources, especially the split between faculty & department events and student organized activities. Also missing how awesome Skule's frosh handbook is.

Onto food:
Ugly looking but very tasty rosemary shortbread cookies:

Before taking a bite, I thought these were the least successful item I've baked. The dough was incredibly dry (be skeptical, I have a sample size of exactly this one shortbread) and would not hold its shape. I deviated from instructions to roll it into a log -> freeze -> slice, but the frozen dough just crumbled as I sliced it, so I ended up needing to smosh the crumbs together. Not sure how I can improve this next time...add a tiny bit of water? Will try other recipes to see if this dough is actually an outlier.


Pesto pizza rolls:

Stretching a pizza dough is hard, but these are forgiving of uneven thickness.

But the results are super fluffy rolls *u*
I was also momentarily confused as to where the cheese within the rolls went, but I think they melted and was absorbed by the dough? Is that how it works..?

Bonus birthday noodles that I forgot to post:

08 September 2017


While making the apple weekend cake yesterday, I used up the last of the white sugar. This is a (not quite) tremendous set back to my list of baked goods I intended to make. So today features just a tomato soup plus some garlic bread.

how do chefs/food bloggers swirl in pesto so nicely?!

This is very simple to make and actually perfect for my situation as my mom planted a ton of larger tomatoes this year. Also uses basil and thyme which I also have an abundance of.

I ate it more as a dip for bread:


More bonus flower pictures, this time I made a bouquet for myself:

so hard to think of an interesting composition for flowers...

I tried to deliberately position the flowers and leaves, but don't remember much from the ikebana book I read. That book plus this chabana thread is creating a fledgling interest in me about flower arrangement.

07 September 2017


Day 1: garden pasta and apple weekend cake

 featuring radish leaves, basil, and cherry tomatoes from the backyard 

Pesto pasta topped with tomatoes is so much easier than tomato sauce with basil. Although according to my mom cooking tomatoes make its nutrients more bioavailable. 

The apple to cake ratio is more like my chocolate chip cookie's chocolate to cookie ratio, aka a looooot. Its good for you :D


Bonus photos of my non-edible favourite part of the backyard:

31 August 2017


Since I'll be soon without access to a full kitchen, here's my overly ambitious list of things I want to cook / bake before I leave. Alternative motivation is to use the peak of this summer's bounty. Will try to report back on the results.
  • Peppers stuffed with rice and beef: if I go home later and get my hands on some peppers from Sky garden
  • Tomato soup: more tomatoes!
  • Milk bread: to make grilled cheese for the tomato soup above, and also for BLTs 
  • Carprese and Greek salad: if I remember to buy some cheese before I head home 
  • Burrata lentil salad: if I can find good burrata at the same shop I find the above cheese
  • Miso rosemary beans: to use the rosemaries that I've been growing
  • Rosemary-buckwheat crunch: see above, plus buckwheat that I've brought back from Atlanta
  • An apple cake from Dorie's cookbook, as requested by mom
  • Russian honey cake: to use the jar of buckwheat honey that taste too strong to be eaten on its own. I had this recipe saved for years, but after seeing some positive results by redditors, I'll give it a go.
  • Rosemary shortbread: about time that I tried baking a butter/flour cookie
  • Pesto pizza rolls: to use up basil. I saw a bumblebee whizzing around the basil flowers and didn't have the heart to trim all the flowers off. So now I gotta use up a ton of basil before the plant decides to die. 

30 August 2017


I have not eaten enough tomatoes this summer :( especially the little golden ones

17 August 2017


Going home means making desserts and drinking tea everyday. In fact I motivate myself to get out of bed every morning by making desserts first...and also for practical reasons of things needing time to chill.

This time I made chocolate creme caramel, which is the only "pudding" (I recently discovered that pudding is what desserts are called in the UK, but I'm using it here as a custard dessert) in Baking Chez Moi that doesn't require 2 additional egg yolks, and Smitten Kitchen's cocoa brownies, because I've been craving brownies but the sea salt caramel brownie has been sold out on the two most recent visits to Jimmy's.

Previously I've made mochi cupcakes (the easiest recipe I've ever baked), salted caramel chocolate mousse again, and a blueberry cornmeal cupcake from Baking Chez Moi that there was inadequate warning about using coarse cornmeal (the language was similar to "it'll be gritty" whereas it should really read "it'll be really fucking gritty, don't even think about it").


Been drinking the free sample of spring 2017 Alishan oolong I got from Floating Leaves Tea and holy it's delicious. Delicious in a...restrained way, is the most accurate description I can give. "Soft and floral" is how FLT describes it. Best brewed with a lower leaf to water ratio and flash steeps to accentuate the softness. I like this so much that I'd buy some every year.

The unintentional benefit from these tea sessions is that I finally found a use for this duanni teapot! It'll be dedicated to high mountain / greener rolled oolongs. I originally intended to use it for red teas, however the narrower opening makes it an absolute pain to remove the leaves afterwards. This is much less of a problem with rolled oolongs, and the dome shape allows the leaves to expand. So here is this little pot's blog debut, although an extremely shallow DoF photo is not the most descriptive. The bamboo motifs are what caught my attention.